Following recent media focus on corporate transparency I thought it would be timely to give you a short update on the new People with Significant Control (PSC) Register which has been introduced as one of the many changes to the Companies Act 2006 brought about by the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. On 6 April 2016 this new law came into effect requiring all UK Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships to keep a register of the people who can influence or control a company. The aim of the Act is to create greater clarity in the ownership and authority of UK companies, to help in the fight against money laundering whilst increasing the trust of the public.
The new PSC Register will include information such as the name, date of birth, nationality, nature of control, and home address of the PSC. The usual residential address and full date of birth of the PSC will not appear on the public record. The information set out in the PSC Register must be kept up to date. Individuals who may be at risk of violence or intimidation as a result of being on the register can apply to Companies House to have their information protected.
As from 30 June 2016, companies now require to file their PSC information at Companies House. In most cases this will form part of their confirmation statement which replaces the annual return from this date. It will take up to 12 months for the PSC Register to become complete because confirmation statements are filed throughout the year, with each company’s filing date being based on the anniversary of their incorporation. New companies registering after 30 June 2016 will have to provide their PSC information as part of the incorporation process. Also from 30 June 2016 the PSC Register will be available to search free of charge.
While the obligation is on the company to create and maintain the register there are also duties on individual PSC. They have an obligation to notify the company within one month of becoming a PSC. They commit a criminal offence if they fail to notify or respond to a notice from the company which may result in a fine and or a prison sentence of up to two years.
It is thought that in terms of transparency this is a big step forward to help strengthen confidence in business and deliver real benefits to the UK economy as a whole.